ADRA Colombia delivers food baskets to Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves in the Meta department

26 de mayo de 2023 | ADRA Colombia Press.

In an effort to meet the food needs of vulnerable indigenous communities, ADRA Colombia, in collaboration with the Puerto López District (Meta), delivered food baskets to the Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves, belonging to the Sikuany community. This action aims to alleviate the scarcity of basic food that these communities face in the region.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The need for food assistance was identified through the missionary work carried out by the Associate Minister of the Puerto López District, Cristian Camilo Soto Barco. During his interaction with the indigenous communities, the Minister was able to witness the difficulties faced by large families and single mothers in obtaining essential food items.

“The need was identified through the missionary work that has been carried out with the communities,” said Minister Soto. “We realized the need for those essential food items, where there are large families that find it difficult to get those foods, single mothers who have many children and they are the ones who provide for them,” he added.

Although these communities receive some assistance from the government, distances and lack of resources hinder their effective delivery, especially to the most remote communities, as stated by Carol Rojas Loboa, treasurer of the Association of the Eastern Plains. ADRA Colombia has stepped in to fill this gap and provide support to these communities in their fight for food security.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The economy of the Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves depends largely on agriculture and the exchange of products among themselves, as finding employment outside the community is a challenge. Their main sustenance comes from fishing and the cultivation of yuca, known as “yuca brava,” from which they extract basic food items such as “mañoco” and “casabe.” However, the generated income is minimal and barely sufficient to cover daily needs.

In response to this situation, ADRA Colombia delivered a variety of food and hygiene products to the indigenous communities. The food baskets included rice, wheat flour, panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), and other essential items for their nutrition. In addition, hygiene products such as laundry soap, bath soap, brushes, creams, and toilet paper rolls were distributed.

The delivery of these donations was received with great joy and gratitude by the 130 beneficiary families in the indigenous reserves.

“The community felt very happy to receive all this help, as it was 130 families from these communities that received these supplies,” said Minister Cristian.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The community was able to share not only material sustenance but also spiritual celebration, as this act of solidarity coincided with the inauguration of two temples in the communities that received the aid.

“It was a day of great joy because it was the celebration of the Lord’s supper, but it was also about sharing with them some of that material bread that is also very important; all the families received it with great joy,” expressed Minister Cristian Camilo Soto.

It is worth mentioning that the joint effort between the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia has led to 21 communities, both from the Ikuani and Piapoco ethnicities, accepting the Adventist message and gathering on Saturdays to participate in the Lord’s supper according to biblical principles. Of these 21 communities, 14 temples have been built, and some of them are under construction for their soon completion.

This valuable initiative by ADRA Colombia has had a lasting positive impact on the indigenous communities of the Awaliba and Guacoyo reserves. Not only has immediate relief been provided for food scarcity, but the sense of community and mutual support has also been strengthened.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

“We are very grateful and hopeful, we continue working with the population and hand in hand with God so that He continues to strengthen us, that we are well in our jobs. Thank you for the support you have given us,” stated the pastor of the Millares de Ángeles de Aliva Central church, Francisco Ramos.

However, one of the challenges faced in this missionary work is the language barrier since each ethnicity has its own language. To overcome this difficulty, community leaders play a fundamental role in translating the messages, especially for women and children who have less proficiency in the Spanish language, so they can understand the message of salvation.

“The goal for this year is to achieve a similar amount of translations but in the Piapoco language, and thus be able to share the message of Jesus in their native language,” urged Soto.

The indigenous community expressed deep gratitude to ADRA Colombia and the Adventist Church for their support and for sharing both spiritual and material sustenance. This joint work has brought joy and hope to families, strengthening bonds of solidarity and collaboration on the path towards a better future for these indigenous communities in Meta.

The commitment of the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia to indigenous communities continues to grow, with the intention of expanding the message of love and hope to more people, overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers to provide a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it most.